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Bacolod City, PhilippinesThursday, June 14, 2007
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LFS slams tuition fee hikes

Classes in the tertiary level started yesterday with complaints of higher tuition and miscellaneous fees aired by students from different colleges and universities in Negros Occidental.

In a press conference yesterday, League of Filipino Students-Negros secretary general, Julius Dagatan, said students' rights to quality education are continuously jeopardized by the high tuition and miscellaneous fees.

He said that as long as President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is in power, Filipino students will never have a chance of a better future.

Calling the education system in the country as a failure, Kabataan Partylist chairperson Ma. Clarizza Singson said the oppressive and anti-student policies endanger the youth's aspiration to quality education.

She said those who managed to enter college eventually drop out from school due to high cost of private tertiary education and limited slots in state schools.

Data gathered by the LFS, Anakbayan and Kabataan Partylist showed that students drop-out rate in 2004 reached 11 million, 13,4 million in 2005, and 14.6 million in 2006.

The group also presented a report showing that 10 schools in the province increased its tuition fees this school year.

These schools were Binalbagan Catholic College, Central Negros College, Colegio de San Agustin, Fellowship Baptist College, John B. Lacson College Foundation, La Consolacion College-Bacolod, La Consolacion College-La Carlota, Riverside College, University of St. La Salle and VMA Global College.

They also scored the Commission on Higher Education for kowtowing to the pressure from Malacaņang. Zara Alvarez, Anakbayan chairperson said that CHED along with the Department of Education act in connivance with the Office of the President in initiating policies that make education a luxury in the country.

Meanwhile, Dagatan said LFS advocates for the rights of the Filipino youth and it is not a front of the Communist Party of the Philippines to recruit members for the New People's Army.

He said it was unfair for the military to issue statements categorizing the LFS and other militant youth groups as CPP affiliates.

He said that a member who enrolled in one of the universities the other day was told by a school official to be careful as he is under surveillance.

He said that despite the threats on their safety, they will still go on denouncing the oppressive and anti-student policy of the Arroyo administration.*NB

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